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regard to the structure of a mind, we know and can conceive of no one, to which this mutability is not incidental. We cannot frame an idea of a mind, in which there is no succession of thoughts ; and yet we are sure that God must be such an one, or else he cannot be such a being as the universe needs for its head. If there be such a thing with him as novelty, or something he ai. ways had not, he must be of a limited capacity, and of limited powers, and consequently unfit for infinite dominion. With whatever his mind is occupied, at one time, it is at all times ; or else he passes from one state to another, implying a change, which is contrary to the text and all proper views of the supreme being. “I am the Lord, I change not.” I shall close this discourse with reflecting, that it must be impiety, and a dishonour to God, for any creature to imagine, that the Deity may be drawn aside from the channel of his own inflexible will and firm purposes. by any thing, however interesting, from even the highest of created intelligences. This, however, is not to discourage addresses to God for his blessing, presented with devout. reverence and humility. If, however, we go to him, under a notion, that by much importunity and fervour, we shall be able to disengage him from the prosecution of his own favourite course, and incline him towards that which is more especially agreeable to ourselves, our mistake will not be a. M m
trifling nor an innocent one. . If our hope of success in prayer is built on the supposition, that God is not immutable, and may, therefore, be prevailed with to abandon his own interest and come over to ours, sad and melancholy, indeed, is our unpreparedness to wait on God, as suppliants. But what room, says one, is there for prayer, if God be thus. inflexible in his own ways Will not all prayer, according to this, degenerate into a useless ceremony ? The truly devout, and they who really seek God, pray, because God. has connected asking and receiving together;. because they are joined together, in his eternal counsels, never to be put asunder ; and not because Jehovah is so weak and changeable that he cannot resist the importunity of man. The unchangeableness of God is the: grand refuge, to which those escape, as on the wings of prayer, whose heart is fixed, trusting in God.
God under influence from no other being.
EPHESIANS i. 1 1. last clause.
Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
Is God is the portion of his people, and the fountain of all their happiness and, glory; if saints and angels in heaven make. it their delightful and incessant employment: to enquire into the mysteries of the God-: head, that they may never fail of fresh matter for joyful adoration and praise ; need I. entertain any apprehensions lest I should weary your patience by continuing to dwell upon the subject of Deity. Can you ever be tired of hearing about God, provided your attention be called to such representations and views of him, as are furnished in, his own most holy word P. What being is there in the universe, in whose character and works we are so deeply interested, as in his?? How important is it, then, that we have the fullest and best understanding of his perfec.
tions and government, that our capacity and circumstances will admit : What avails all other knowledge to him, who is ignorant of God? As a moral being, he will derive more
benefit from the slightest real acquaintance with the divine character, than from the
largest discovery of all other objects in the universe. It is because his welfare is more
deeply involved in, and affected by, what may be considered as the real complexion of God’s character, than all other possible. things. However indifferent we may, there
fore, feel towards other things, and however: unconcerned about excelling in our knowledge of them ; yet if we have any wisdom. of thought, or rational consideration, we cannot esteem it of little importance, whether we have right conceptions of God. We cannot better conceive of the business of the heavenly world, as carried on, uninterruptedly, to eternity, than that it consists in the utmost stretch of the mind after clearer and
more enlarged discoveries of God. And if eternal ages of intense application to this. study will not fatigue the glorified inhabit
ants of the upper world, nor, in any degree, wear upon their patience ; should we, who
must owe all our happiness to the same ob-, jects, and influences, think, our minds un
reasonably burdened with this momentous, theme if urged upon us for a few weeks in succession. O that, with a devout and holy
reverence, we might pursue it to the very close of life, making it our constant meditation, by day and by night, and, when eternity shall take the place of time, proceed with vastly increased vigour and satisfaction, and never find an end to so glorious and happy an exercise ! t
The practical atheist only will deny, that the Judge of all the earth will do right. But is it enough, that we give an unfeeling and an uninterested assent to this truth, taking no pains to look into the counsels and works of God to find the actual proofs of his boundless unimpeachable rectitude, and to see how his wisdom and goodness are carried into effect : Surely it is most pleasant and edifying to the holy soul to make observation upon the conduct of providence, to trace the methods, in which an infinite God brings out to view the essential benignity of his nature. In doing this we are not left to guess at the end from the complexion of the means. The end is certain, and our minds need only to be exercised in observing by what modes of procedure it is to be accomplished. As an agent looking forward to an object, and exerting himself to attain it, God, it is manifest, must be furnished to what he has undertaken, or else there can be no hope of his success. And one essential principle, in addition to others before brought into view, is this, viz. that God must be absolutely and eternally free from all influence, except what is in himself. If this be not essential to the