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Charge in 1786. The duties of these important offices he con. tinued to discharge, with great honour to himself and advantage to the church, till his last illness. Dr. Hunter was acquainted with vital piety from his earliest years; and, in the whole of his conduct through life, in every situation in which he was placed ; in the pulpit, in the chair, in the circles of his private friends, the power of true religion was displayed with an uniformity, with an energy, and with a beauty, which procured to his character the veneration and love of all who knew him. As his life eminently adorned the doctrine of God our Saviour, so his peaceful and triumphant death illustrated its efficacy, in supporting the heart of the Christian in the hour of dissolution. From the commencement of his disorder, he anticipated its fatal issue, and died full of the lively hope of a blessed immortality.
THE OMNIPRESENCE OF JEHOVAH. Trou, Gon, seest me!' is a sentence that should be engraven on all our minds; and may be uttered by us with propriety wheresoever we are, or in whatsoever we are engaged. -A view of any one of the divine attributes as described in the Scriptures, is adapted to produce the most benign effects on our minds; but perhaps nothing has so strong a tendency to render solemn and soft the heart, as a scriptural view of the divine Omnipresence. We may certainly have distinct ideas of this doctrine ; for the pages of inspiration clearly teach that God is everywhere.
In essence. Not like the sun in the heavens, does he himself remain stationary, while the effects only of his existence are felt in every part of the universe; but in his essence he is really and truly wherever thought can reach. The High and Lofty One inhabiteth eternity, and dwelleth with him also that iš of a contrite heart. The Lord is in Heaven, and not far from every one of us. The Most High is not confined to temples made with hands neither can the heaven of heavens contain him, No one place can put us at greater distance from him than another; and, however he may conceal or unveil himself, he is yet continually and intimately nigh to all.
In knowledge. Known unto God are all his works, neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eye of Him with whom we have to do. Vain man would be wise; but, alas ! how circumscribed is our knowledge! In every thing it finds a check, and all around us hang impenetrable clouds but God is his own light! Before him all clouds evaporate, all mysteries vanish, all objects are transparent! Desires are words to him, and his eye is on the ambush of, secret prayer! an influence. His knowledge is not speculative, -his presence
with all they to be When the have our best good
is not uninfluential. What shall I address that does not feel his influence? Shall I ask the dashing billows who made them roll, and set their limits, over which they cannot pass ? - or, shall I question loud the thunder and the whirlwind, for their ability and authority to act ? Methinks I hear a voice replying out of the whirlwind, 'I gave to the sea its bounds; I hold the wind in my fist, and ride upon the storm. To my nod all Nature owes her birth, and the resting of my hand would be her dissolution.' But why address inanimate objects ? Am not I myself a living proof of a First Cause, ever present and operating?" Who sustains my nerves? Who supplies my breath? Who tunes my voice? The Almighty maketh my heart soft. It is God that worketh in us to will and to do, of his own good pleasure. In him we all live, and move, and have our being.
In government. When the purposes of men oppose his, how sure are they to be frustrated! The arrow which they direct with all their force and skill to a favourite mark, is carried to one quite contrary; - but when a man is pursuing the same end as He, how certain his success! Mountains of opposition flow down before him, and whatsover he doeth, it is made to prosper. Every movement then in this vast machine is at God's disposal, and subject to his controul. In the wildest commotion. He remains perfectly tranquil, signifies his will, and pities those who would attempt to stay his hand. The Lord has prepared his throne in the heavens; his government ruleth over all.
We may deduce from this doctrine, inferences respecting God.
His spirituality and incomprehensibleness. A spirit is indi. yisible. ? Wherever it is, it is all there. In what a supereminent manner must this apply to Him who filleth Heaven and earth! The divine perfections are not parts of Deity, but rather the Deity seen in different views, or acting in different ways. God is One! A spirit is not to be seen ; and no man hath seen God at any time. Tell us, ye ancient Jews, what was his form ?- for he was never nearer to any than to you. Ye saw his glory! - ye heard a voice! -- but ye neither heard his voice at any time, nor saw his shape. To what then shall we liken God? - how represent him to our minds ?-how reduce him to our comprehension ? He is incomprehensible,-past finding out! Lo! these are parts of his ways! but how little à portion of him is known! Mortals, confess your ignorance!' Bow and own your nothingness before the incomprehensible God! . 1. His intelligence and unchangeableness. All things are known to him at one view, without any succession. He sees the past without recollection, the present without medium, the future without forethought! To him all truths are but one idea, all places but one point, all times but one moment!' If ther nothing can arise that he did not always see, what can waver bis
designs, or ever induce him in the least to alter the thing which bas gone out of his mouth? · The certainty and correctness of his future judgment. Will he fail to publish what he has seen ? No; but God will bring évery work into judgment, with every secret thought; and, have ing seen actions in all their springs and bearings, his judgment will be according to truth. Who then may stand before him ? Those only who are united by faith to the Divine Surety, whose souls are cleansed by renewing grace, whose subsequent actions have evinced a change of heart.
Let us all make use of this doctrine, to shew us
The thickness of that sinful veil which conceals him from à human soul; for since he is everywhere, and since his presence must be a fulness of light and glory, how is it that a man can avoid perceiving him how is it that he can enter and leave his courts, where his saints behold his glory, without having once felt an impression that God was there ? Oh, Sin! offspring of Satan! what a sable mantle, what an impenetrable veil hast thou thrown around the human soul ! : The deep repentance that is due from sinners against him. Who can understand bis errors ? No man can number them up,
no man can tell their aggravation, no man can bear them in mind! Sinners do not ordinarily deposit their sins in their memories ; and Satan is never wanting in helping to forgetfulness of them : but God has seen them all, and sees them all fully, and sees them all now; and can a humbling acknowledgment, unblushing confessions of them, be all the repentance he requires, as that the grace of repentance from him produces ? Oh! deceive not yourselves! If he has forgiven your sins, he has made the remembrance of them bitter. If you have a gospel hope that they do not stand against you in his judgment, they will often stand before you to affect and mollify your heart.
The wonders of his mercy in revealing himself to souls like ours. - Has be appeared to you, and indulged you with come munion, - communion sweet, - communion vast and high ?
Think of the state in which he found you. Poor and miserable, blind and naked, is the picture which inspiration has drawn of it; but he passed by, and it was a tine of love. He said,
Live, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead !-Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee;' and now you are one with Jesus, now you have communion with the Almighty; you walk by faith, and you walk with God. Why did he bebold you with delight? Surely, you are exclaiming, How is it, Lord, that thou wilt manifest thy. self to ine, and not unto the world ? • That communion with him is to he had in all places. - In the temple and in the closet ; indeed, his invitation has peculiar force.- Seek ye my face :' - but everywhere a pious heart may find a closet. In a rock Moses may turn aside to converse with his God! From the bottom of the sea a Jonah may send a prayer into his ears! Prison-doors shut not out his presence. Caverns of the earth do not in the least impede his gracious manifestations. Nowhere is a telescope required to reach his throne, nor a movement of body necessary to draw nigh unto him. Thought, how consoling to the Christian !
“ Should Fate command me to the farthest verge
Of the green earth, to distant, barbarous climes,
I cannot go where God is not,
And where he vital breathes there must be joy." What strong consolation for a Christian under all darkness and distress! -.But no one is privy to my groanings ! Yes, poor afflicted Job, there is! God is with thee! He is listening to thy complaints, writing down thy sighs, putting thy tears into his bottle, - waiting to be gracious! He sees all thy journey through the wilderness ; and when the appointed moment arrives, he will throw off the cloud, and stand confessed thy Friend!
What a motive has every one to constant sincerity and watchfulness! You go from his sanctuary, but not from him ; you dig deep to hide your counsel, but thoughts are words in his ears; you cover your coldness with a glaring cloke of profession, but he searcheth Jerusalem with candles ; -- you seclude yourself with bars and bolts, you do that of which you would be ashamed before your fellow-creatures, but his eyes are on you as a flame of fire! Oh! take your eyes from this, to say to him, •Cover me with the righteousness of thy Son! adorn me with the undecaying graces of thy Spirit! Cleanse thou me from secret faults ! Search me, O God! and know my heart ; try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting !
ORIGINAL LETTER OF THE LATE REV.T. HARMER:
To the Editor. The following Letter was written by Mr. Harmer when he was little more than twenty years old. I have sent it you, with the hope that, through the divine.blessing, it may prove useful to some of the people of God who have met with bereaving providences; and that it may excite & conceru in young ministers to do good, not only in the pulpit, but out of it; especially by testifying a tender concern for the afflicted. As the attention of the public bas lately been called to Mr. Harmer's writings, by Dr. Adam Clarke'a edition of bis Observations, it is reasonable 'to suppong, that many will be glad to be acquainted with him, not only
as a learned Biblical critic, but as a truly serious and affectionate minister among his people, with whom he resided 54 years.' Yours, &c. .! Wattisfield, Suffolk
J. W. HICKMAN
· Wattisfield, April 9, 1735.' Tho' I cannot look upon myself at present so far related to this church as to take all those freeloms I otherwise possibly might, yet, deprived of an opportunity of laying before you my thoughts yesterday, I hope you will excuse the liberty I have taken to convey them by this method, since I could not altogether excuse myself from this service. So far as the disorder that now disturbs you proceeds from the failure of animal nature, I must leave it to those that profess medicine, and the blessing of the great God. What I would consider is, That excessive grief, from which, I am afraid, it does in a grea measure proceed. I own, Madam, it is bitter and perplexing to find the great God following us with lareach upon breach ; --but should it be overwhelming too? Jesus has not forbidden the awakening our tender passions when we lose a friend or a relative; but does he indulge a sorrowing, as those that have no hope? If we have lost a son, a beloved son, must a Christian express his mournful sense of it in no other language than that of Jacob, when he refused to be comforted, I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning?" No, Madam, permit me to assure you, the behaviour of David more becomes a Christian : " While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious unto me that the child may live ? - but now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. I question not but you often remembered your departed child at the throne of grace, when it was within the reach of prayer. God has denied you your request for its life; but why should this so much distress you? You have laid it in the silent grave; and must you, therca fore, fix your eyes for ever on the awful gloominess that surrounds it, and forget to look beyond the tomb, into the world of happy spirits ? Indulge not too frequent, too bitter, reflections on that distressing hour, when it forsook this world ; nor on that painful day when it was laid in the dust;endeavour rather to fix upon your soul great and raised ideas of the sovereignty of that God, who gives no account of the methods of his dealing with us. · The loss of another relative may have increased the anguish of your soul; and the repeated pain of parting from another, with whom you enjoyed sweet converse, may indeed raise your resente ments higher, and fill your soul with still more melancholy idras ; but when you mourn the loss of converse with this departed friend, remember whither it is we have reason to think she is gone! and sure this must suppress the risings of immoderate sorrow, and alleviate the bitterness and distress that perplex us! She felt the great God her strength and her song while she dwelt icre below..
No, Madam will go on that of a