Tag:

Sovereignty

Manchester, November 1830

My dear Friends,—I received your very kind letter, for which I am thankful. I assure you it often affords me pleasure to find that I have a place in the hearts of God’s dear family; for, next to union with my dear Lord and Master, I esteem union to his blood-bought, heaven bound family.

Among the blessings in which your soul delights you have also your sorrows; for both of which may you be thankful, since they are all tokens of our dear Lord’s love, and a proof that he has not forgotten you. “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposal thereof is of the Lord.” These are eventful times, but the dear children of God have no just cause to fear; for they are the special care of a covenant God, and he is too wise to err, and too good to be unkind. All things must work together for their real good. We enjoy a sweet and solemn frame of mind when we…

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I. The Attributes of God.

The attributes of God are distinguished by Theologians under a variety of classifications.

1. Negative and Positive Attributes.

Distinctions are sometimes made between the “negative” and “positive” attributes. The Negative Attributes are such as remove from God whatever is imperfect in creatures—since God is not finite, mutable and mortal, so He is infinite, immutable and immortal. The Positive, or Affirmative Attributes, are such as assert a perfection in God, which is in and of Himself—if these attributes are in any measure true of the creatures, such as wisdom, goodness, justice, holiness, &c., they are derived from God. Some discard this classification of attributes, for though it is easier to say what God is not, than what He is, yet in all negative attributes, some positive excellency is found.

2. Essential and Analogical Attributes.

Another arrangement is to distribute the attributes into a “twofold order”—the first and second. The essential properties of the “first order”, declare the essence of God as in Himself, such as His simplicity, perfection, infinity and immutability. These perfections are not found in the creatures. The essential properties of the “second order”, declare the essence of God as in Himself, but are also found in the creatures, such as life, immortality…

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Thus far, we have considered the various attributes which belong to God as a spirit—because He is uncreated, so He is spiritual, simple, immutable, infinite, immense, omnipresent and eternal; because He is active, so He is living and omnipotent. We now proceed to look at those perfections which are ascribed to God as an intelligent spirit. If God is said to have a “mind” and “understanding” (Rom 11:34; Is 40:28), then the attributes of “knowledge” and “wisdom” go together. Let us consider the knowledge, or omniscience, of God.

I. The Fact of God’s Omniscience.

That knowledge belongs to the TriUne Jehovah may be proved by the several attributes of God.

1. The Infinity of God.

Since God is unlimited and unbounded as to space, so He is omnipresent; since He is unbounded as to time, so He is eternal; since He is unbounded as to power, so He is omnipotent; since He is unbounded as to…

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We continue to look at those perfections which are ascribed to God as an intelligent spirit. Since God is said to have a “mind” and “understanding” (Rom 11:34; Is 40:28), then the attributes of “knowledge” and “wisdom” go together. We turn to the subject of God’s wisdom. This is a more focused attribute than that of knowledge, since it is the judicious application of knowledge, not only in the choice of the best means, but also in the selection of the best ends and purposes.

Now, no one that believes in the being of a God, can admit the least doubt that He is possessed of consummate and infinite wisdom. An unwise Being cannot be God. Pythagoras says, “No man is wise but God only.” That “with Him is wisdom”, is frequently asserted in the sacred scriptures (Job 12:12,13; Dan 2:20,21). Indeed, if ancient men, having had a large experience of things by their longevity of life, are expected to be wise, then how much more must it be with Him, who is “the ancient of days”? Yea, such wisdom in God must be infinite, for He is from everlasting to everlasting.

(1) He is the only wise God.

No less than three times is God said to be “the only wise God” (Rom 16:27; 1 Tim 1:17; Jude 25). This is a statement of comparison with the creatures, which when measured by the infinite capacity of the Creator, have no wisdom. Take, for instance, the…

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We have been considering the attributes which belong to God as a spirit—because He is uncreated, so He is spiritual, simple, immutable, infinite, immense, omnipresent and eternal; because He is active, so He is living and omnipotent; because He is rational, so He is omniscient and wise. We now proceed to look at that perfection which affirms that God is a volitional spirit—His will, and the sovereignty of it.

I. The Proof of God’s Will.

In an intelligent being, such as angels and men, there is a will, as well as an understanding, and therefore proof that God has a will serves to affirm He is a spirit. As the understanding of God is infinite and unsearchable, so He has a will, to do what He knows is most fitting to be done. His understanding influences and guides His will, and His will determines all His actions. And, because His will is wisely directed, it is called, “the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11). A will is frequently ascribed to God in Scripture—”The will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:14); “Who has resisted his will” (Rom 9:19); “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will” (Eph 1:9); and in many other passages. Will is ascribed to each of the divine Persons…

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