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some persons at that time might be secretly rejoiced, that such a nian as David had thus kept them in countenance, Joab, who had committed murder, for instance, might inwardly exult on so lamentable an occasion. But, however that might be, He who is, “no respecter of persons,” and with whom is no difference between the mightiest monarch and the meanest subject, was deeply offended.
The language of the text, “ Against thee, thee “only,” implies far more than I can express, of the majesty, excellency, and authority of the glorious Gon; our relations to him, as the Creator, Governor, and Judge of all; our obligations to him, in general and particular; and the return which we ought to “ render for all his benefits.”
It is worthy of remark, that no records of antiquity, however admired (the Scriptures alone excepted,) use language concerning the infinite God, which is in any measure worthy of his incomprehensible majesty and greatness; nay, which is not exceedingly degrading to his character: and if moderns have at all succeeded better on this subject, it is because they have derived their most adequate ideas from the Bible, though many are unwilling to acknowledge the obligation. Yet, after all, the sublimity of the sacred oracles on this subject is unparalleled.—“Great is the LORD, “and greatly to be praised; His greatness is un"searchable. I will speak of the glorious honour
" of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works; “ and men shall speak of the might of thy terrible " acts, and I will declare thy greatness.'”—“ Who “ hath measured the waters in the hollow of his “hand, and meted out the heavens 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?”_" 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 for “a burnt offering !--All nations before him are as “nothing: and they are counted unto him less " than nothing and vanity! To whom will ye “ liken God??" Against this Being, of glorious power, and majesty unspeakable, a poor worm dares to rise in rebellion! “ Against thee have “ I sinned!”
When Job, in the heat of controversy, had spoken irreverently concerning God; his friends accused him of hypocrisy, and crimes of which he was consciously innocent; and even Elihu bore too hard upon him: so that he was not convinced or humbled on that account. But when “ JEHOVAH "spoke to him from the whirlwind;" though he did not deign to argue on the justice of his dispensation, but merely exhibited before him some displays and illustrations of his greatness, power,
! Ps. cxlv, 3-6. ? Is. xl, 12--18.
and majesty ; he soon brought Job to submit, to plead guilty, and to say, “ I am vile,” “I abhor “ myself, I repent in dust and ashes.”
St. Paul also seems to have taken up this subject in the same manner, when he answers an irreverent caviller against the dealings of God with his creatures; “Nay but, О man, who art thou " that repliest against God?” “Consider what a ' frail, short sighted, and erring creature thou art,
even in common things; and darest thou pre
sume to dispute against God, on such deep sub'jects as are evidently beyond thy comprehension,
or even thy investigation?' “ Canst thou by “ searching find out Gon? Canst thou find out " the Almighty to perfection ? It is higher than “ heaven, What canst thou do? It is deeper " than hell, what canst thou know?” “Oh the “ depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and “ knowledge of God! Llow unsearchable are “ his judgments, and his ways past finding out.”
Many objections often raised, not without a great mixture of presumption, against the doctrines of Revelation; especially such as respect the first origin of sin and misery, the criminality of our conduct as fallen creatures, and the justice of God in the judgments denounced against transgressors, should, in general be silenced in this manner; and not by entering into detailed argumenţs on each particular, as if God was “ even
“ such a one as ourselves.” “Shall not the Judge " of all the earth do right?”
It may, however, be observed, that many of these objections press equally upon every religious system, and not on any one in particular. It is evident that sin and misery do exist and abound. It is undeniable, that the Almighty could have prevented the existence of these evils, or limited their progress. To argue then, against what he hath done or permitted, because we, blind and ignorant sinners fancy he might, have done better, is nothing less than blasphemy; and carried to its consequences, directly militates against every kind of religion.
Again, it is evident in fact that man is deprayed: and we need only to judge the conduct of the world, as recorded in history, by the simple rules of loving God supremely, and our neighbour as ourselves; and the inference is undeniable. Now, if depravity proportionably excuses criminal conduct; then the more any creature is depraved, the fuller justification of his actual wickedness he possesses. This excuses all the rebellion and malignity of fallen men and fallen angels, throws all the blame of sin on the Almighty himself, who did not see good to prevent its existence; and of course renders it impossible that “God should “ judge the world.” But, whatever proves too much, by all the rules of fair argument, is allowed to prove nothing.
“ Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, I “ cannot attain unto it.” The dictates of conscience and of common sense are in this case far preferable to presumptuous reasonings on things evidently beyond our capacity. “To man he saith, “ The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to “ depart from evil, that is understanding." "Se“ cret things belong unto the Lord our God; “ but the things that are revealed belong to us.”
The Psalmist in the context speaks on this subject. “I have done this evil in thy sight, that "a thou mightest be justified in thy saying, and “ clear when thou art judged. Behold I was ri shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother “ conceive me!” Did the royal penitent mean to urge this as an extenuation of his crimes ? Certainly not, but to shew that they were not occasional slips; but the effect of a depraved nature. “ As says the proverb of the ancients, wickedness " proceedeth from the wicked.” And therefore he prays, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and “ renew a right spirit within me.”
When we consider the majesty and greatness of God, we may well be abashed at the consideration of our rebellions against him : but the discovery of his glorious excellency, the perfection of his loveliness and beauty, are calculated to give us still deeper views of the criminality of our cona duct. His Omnipotence, and Omniscience, and Omnipresence, and all his natural attributes,