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God aright when your service is merely nominal, however fair ; let it be the worship and devotion of the soul. Serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind. Such was the dying advice of David to his son; and the argument by which he enforced it may be addressed with equal propriety to every one among us; if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee : but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever. *
* 1 Chron. xxviii. 9.
THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD.
JEREMIAH xxiii. 24.
hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him, saith the Lord ? Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord ?”
If these questions were to be answered by the conduct of men rather than by their acknowledgments, we might suppose it to be a prevailing opinion, that the Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard them.* So remarkably does all concern upon this subject seem to be discarded by multitudes around us, that the displeasure of the Almighty on account of sin, excites in them no apprehension, and imposes upon them no restraints. To such an awful extreme may this principle be carried, that as we learn from this chapter, even prophets, who
* Psalm xciv. 7.
spake in the name of the Lord, have been known to declare a vision of their own hearts, and to pervert the words of the living God.t It is with express reference to these daring deceivers, that the sacred writer, as in the person of Jehovah, urges the strong appeal which has just been read, Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him saith the Lord? Do not I fill heaven and earth saith the Lord ?
I. This passage asserts the OMNIPRESENCE of God; a doctrine repeatedly brought forward in the Holy Scriptures, and in terms so clear as to admit of no evasion. Thus we read; The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. I Hell and destruction are before the Lord; how much more then the hearts of the children of men.g Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.|| Not to multiply passages of a similar purport, we may observe, that the whole of the inspired writings implies the doctrine, and would be inexplicable without it; hence the extensive and spiritual nature of the divine commandments; hence the confidence so loudly proclaimed by the holy men of old, in the divine protection; hence their trust in the Almighty under afflictions; hence their sacrifices, their prayers,
* Jer. xxiii. 16.
+ Jer. xxiii. 36. | Prov. xv. 3.
§ Prov. xv. 11. || Heb. iv. 13.
and their praises : every part of their conduct, as the servants of God, testified their conviction, that they were continually in His presence, and that darkness and secrecy can hide nothing from Him.
And this truth, which is so clearly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, may be distinctly perceived also in the ways of Providence. Where is the man of understanding, who, whether conversant or not with the sacred writings, does not frequently, on observing the rise and decline of nations, find the confession extorted from him, God is the judge; he putteth down one and setteth up another ?* And, especially if with these Scriptures in our hands, we look at the countries and people, which were the subjects of ancient prophecy, and compare the several predictions with the events, which time has gradually brought to pass; the result will be a firm persuasion, that the direct controuling
Psalm lxxv. 7.
agency of Almighty God exists, and is felt in every place, and in all ages of the world: that he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven.* With respect to the moral government of God, in the ordinary occurrences of individual life, we admit that, without divine revelation, even a wise man might not always be able to trace it; and, when we know its existence, we may err in our attempts to explain it: but the destiny of nations, under circumstances like those of Ishmael, of Egypt, or of the Israelites, should satisfy scepticism itself, that God fills both heaven and earth.
observe further, that men in general, who believe in a supreme Being, find in their own consciences a testimony to the truth of the doctrine. However they may disavow it in practice, yet in times of sickness, and especially when death appears to be near at hand, almost every person is affected by the conviction that from the presence of God he cannot flee. Every painful reflection, which arises in the mind concerning a mispent life, and every apprehension connected with it, is virtually an acknowledgment that there is One to whom all
* Job xxviii. 24.