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the Saviour's constitutes a part of that gospel of salvation which he has commanded should be published to all ages and nations, you are to consider Jesus Christ as addressing you to-day, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” -It is "an hard saying; who can hear it? Is that the comment of any one of you, when you hear this sentiment uttered by a tongue whose truth no man may question? It was the comment of many a professed follower of the Saviour when he was on earth, who on the strength of it drew back, and followed him no more. But it must be done, it must be submitted to, or the case is rendered desperate. Christianity never amalgamates with the opposite disposition. That audacious philosophy which arro gantly rejects the truths of revelation, because they are hostile to its reveries, or conversant with matters above its comprehension; and that paganizing theology which labours to bring them down to the standard of what it calls a rational christianity, are here upon a level. They who controvert them, and they who dilute or fritter them away, are equally strangers to the subduing power which the apostle Paul ascribes to the gospel of salvation, when it "casts down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and brings into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
But are you perfectly sure that they are the most highminded men and independent thinkers, who refuse to take the station of a little child; but rather presume to judge of the soundness of every principle indisputably contained in the oracles of God, and of the propriety of every ordi. nance enjoined by his authority, before they can admit it as a certain truth that he himself has spoken?
prepared to affirm that there is not much more of ignorance and presumption than of intelligence and dignity, in that affected superiority which professes to look down on all questions conversant about scriptural doctrines as things of little inoment; and pities the weak credulity of him who believes a mystery; and despises the want of spirit in him who fulfills a precept?-Do you feel yourselves compelled to renounce your pretensions to every thing like liberalized and philosophic manhood, when you set yourselves to learn and obey as little children, in every thing that relates to the doctrines and duties of a christian?—Is it really can hard saying” which Jesus Christ has uttered.
We are always happiest when it is our lot to rear the standard of the cross, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” for attendant multitudes to look to and be healed, without calling in question the reality or the suitableness of heaven's own institutions. It is joy, it is blessedness which no earth-born thoughts can equal, when such immortals seat themselves in the sanctuary of God, that, with the simplicity of little children, they may learn and do his will; and when every eye and every movement seem to indicate that all hearts are labouring with one inquiry, ‘0, will he, will he save me?-But next to the joy of soothing and thrilling such perturbed spirits, by unfolding for their help, in all its tenderness and brightness, “the glorious gospel of the blessed God," and of leading them, all anxious and helpless as they are, to that merciful Redeemer who casts none away,---next to that most loved of all employments we feel happy in vindicating from unmerited aspersions the soundness of their discretion and the dignity of their procedure in submitting like children to the guidance of the Most High. And we feel happy in
making it out to self-styled philosophers, and self-admiring witlings, that in ridiculing or denouncing the doctrines of the bible, they are presuming upon points which they do not understand.
Nor is it hard to vindicate the submission of a christian, when he bows like an infant to the precepts of his religion; for it is to none but Jehovah, God of Hosts, that he submits unreservedly his understanding and his ways. Should man-weak man--undervalue him on this account, and stigmatize as folly the lessons gathered from the page of inspiration, the bible scholar will have learned enough of God and of the ways of God to put down the rude assail ant. Before him he need not stand in the guise of simple infancy, but with arch-angelic port, while he triumpantly
asserts eternal providence, “And justifies the ways of God with men.” It is our aim to accomplish both these objects in the present.
We would lead you if possible to some distinct apprehension of that august and awful being in the presence of whose glory” happy spirits bow; that thus "beholding," however faintly, “the glory of the Lord,” you may be changed into the same image from glory to glo
,” and learn to cherish more abiding sentiments than those to which the host of Israel gave a momentary entertainment, when they beheld his glory, and heard the voice of his thunders, and saw his lightnings glance, amid the smouldering clouds that swathed the peak of Horeb.-But we would do more than lead you to form that resolution which as with one mouth was announced by the congregation of the Lord: "all that the Lord our God hath spoken we will do." We would not be content with witnessing your compliance with that leading requisition: "this is the
work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." We would have you prepared at all points to "give a reason of” the faith, as well as "hope that is in you,” by making it out that the scriptures are worthy of all acceptation as a record of God's providence, and as a rule of faith and life; and that whatever they record of God and his ways, , is consistent with his character and worthy of his supremacy, notwithstanding the objections so often and confidently urged.
And even now, though we have but just commenced our attempt to unfold to you the God of the bible, and though in one discourse no more has been effected than a feeble delineation of one of his high attributes, yet from this elevation, the first to which you have attained, shrouded as it is in clouds and darkness, you may trace very distinctly the bearing and connexion of many of those principles which confound the understandings of such as do not realize the "omnipresent God.”
You recollect the view of the omnipresence of the Deity with which we endeavoured to impress you. God does not exist in a corporeal form: nor is he diffused through space, as any subtil, but still material substance might be spread abroad. He is a spirit; and he is every where. To every point of space, and to every created thing, he is intimately and wholly present, as if that point were immensity, and that single object the whole of his creation. Spaces and magnitudes have no relation to him. An atom is as the universe, and the universe as án atom: for all things subsist in his immensity, and they are “naked and open
before him.” He is, therefore, “not far from every one of us.” If you "ascend up into heaven," he is there. If you Smake your bed in hell,” he is there. If you sitake the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,” even there shall his hand lead you, and his right hand shall hold you. He is really, immediately, and wholly present in every place: “the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him.". But he is not merely present, as the spectator of all that is and of all that is done. AU things "live and move and have their being” in him. The same energy that produced, upholds them in existence;' and apart from him they would instantly cease to be.
This is the scriptural representation of omnipresence. We did not attempt to explain it to you. We dare not attempt it. We rest satisfied with putting it beyond the possibility of doubt that this is the scriptural account. And you—without pretending to comprehend the thing at allat once recognize the description as appropriate, and admit that it is the only appropriate delineation of an Infinite Being. Then, we would say to you,
I. If God is every where, and if all things subsist in him, what becomes of the fasbionable objection to the scriptures that they reveal many things which no creature can comprehend; and that as a wise being would not take that mode of instructing his creatures, the scriptures evince themselves not be of God?-
To this notion we will oppose the doctrine of our text, the doctrine of God's omnipresence. Philosophy never discovered it. While “darkness yet covered the earth,” the schools of philosophy never revolved the thought of an omnipresent being. All, with them, was local, limited, and in every sense material. Even spirit, as they called it, was but attenuated matter. But the moment that revelation brought the truth to light, it was admitted and incorporated into every system that could advance any pre