« PreviousContinue »
or all-sufficient* God. Others render it Nourishert; deriving it from a word which signifies a breast; Hilleruss, derives it from a word which signifies to pour out, or shed; and it well agrees with God, who pours forth, or sheds his blessings, in great plenty, on his creatures; and which flow from him as from a fountain: though others give a very different etymolo. gy of it; deriving it from a word which signifies to destroy; to which there seems to be a beautiful allusion in Isai. xiii. 6. Destruction from Shaddai, the destroyer.” And some render the word, the Darter, or Thunderer :|| whose darts are his thunderbolts, Job vi. 4. This name seems to be ex. pressive of the all-sufficiency of God, and of the supply of his creatures from it.
V. Another of the names of Godis, the Lord, or God of hosts; it is first mentioned in 1 Sam. i. 3. 11. but frequently after. wards ; and is left untranslated in James v. 4. where the Lord is called, the Lord of Sabaoth, not Sallah, as it is sometimes wrongly understood; and as if it was the same with Lord of Sabłath, Matt. xii. 8. for though the words are somewhat alike in sound, they are very different in sense; for Sabbath signifies rest, and Sabaoth host or armies. The Lord is the God of armies on earth; he is the Lord of the hosts of the starry heavens; the sun, moon, and stars, called the host of heaven, Gen. ii. 1. and also of the airy heavens; and the locusts that fly there are his army, Joel ii. 7, 11. and the mete. ors, thunder and lightening, snow and hail : the angels also are the militia of heaven, and are called the heavenly host,
This name is expressive of God's dominion over all his creatures, and the several armies of them.
VI. Another name of God is Adonai, or Adon, Gen. xv. 2. and is commonly rendered Lord. Hence the Spanish word don for Lord. God is so called, because he is the Lord of the whole earth, Zech. iv. 14. Adon is used in the plural number of God, Mal. i. 6. and so Adonai is used of the Son, as * So Cocceius in Lex.col. 859. Jarchi in Gen. xvii. 1. Maimon. Morch Ne
Luke ii. 13.
+ Paschij. Dis de Selah, p. 2. s. 6. PO nast. H So Schmidt in Job vi. 4.
par. 1. c. 63.
well as of the father, Psal. cxi. 1. and of the holy Spirit, Isai. vi. 8, compared with Acts xxviii. 25. Hence Adonis, with the heathens, the same with the sun, their chief deity, accord. ing to Macrobius,* by whom Bacchus is calledt Ebon, or rather Edon; who, he says, is also the same with the sun.
vit. The famous name of God is Jehovah; this is a name he takes to himself, and claims it, Exod, vi. 3. Isai. xlii. 8. and is peculiar to him; his name alone is Jehovah, and incommunicable to another, Psal. Ixxxiii. 18. The Jews of a superstitious abuse of it, assert it to be ineffable, and not to be pronounced, and even not to be read and written, and therefore substitute other names instead of it, as Adonai, and Elohim. The words of the evangelist John are a proper periphrasis of it; which is, and which was, and which is to come, Rev. i. 4: or, shall be, as in chap. xvi. 5.
VIII. Jah is another name of God, which is mentioned in Psal. Ixviii. 4. and cl. 6. Isai. xxvi. 4. though it may be only an abbreviation or contraction of the word Jehovah, and may signify the same.
ix. Ejeh is a name of God given as a name of his to Moses, when he sent him to the children of Israel; and translated I AM that I AM, Exod. ïïi 13, 14. and may be rendered, I shall be what I shall be, and what I have been. It seems to be of the same signification with Jehovah, and to be derived from the same word, our Lord has a manifest respect unto it, when he says, Before Abraham was I am, John viii. 58.
x. The names of God in the New Testament are two, one is usually rendered Lord and the other God.
From these names of God we learn that God is the eternal, immutable, and almighty Being, the Being of beings, self-existent, and self-sufficient, and the object of religious worship and adoration.
Satural. 1. 1. c. 21. † Ibid. c. 18.
OF THE NATURE OF GOD.
There is a nature that belongs to every creature, which is difficult to understand: and so to God, the Creator, which is most difficult of all. Mention is made of ihe divine Nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. This is what is called Divinity, Deity, or God. head; and which is to be seen and understood by the visi. ble works of creation, and is what, “in all its perfection and fulness, dwells bodily in Christ.” Acts xvii. 29. We are required to believe that he is, that he has a being of essence, and does exist, Heb. xi. 6. Essence is that by which a person or thing is what it is, that is its nature; and with re. spect to God, it is the same with his face, which cannot be seen, Exod. xxxiii. 20, 23. It is impossible for a finite mind in its most exalted state, to comprehend the infinite Nature and Being of God.
This nature is common to the three Persons in God, but pot communicated from one to another; they each of them partake of it, and possess it as one undivided nature; they all enjoy it. I know it is represented by some, who, otherwise, are sound in the doctrine of the Trinity, that the divine nature is communicated from the Father to the Son and Spirit, and that he is fons Deitatis, the fountain of Deity; which I think are unsafe phrases. It is better to say, that they are self-ex. istent, and exist together in the same undivided essence; and jointly, equally, and as early one as the other, possess the
The nature of God is, indeed, incomprehensible by us; somewhat of it may be apprehended, but it cannot be fully comprehended; Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty into perfection }: Job xi. 7. No: but then this does not forbid us searching and enquiring after him.
An heathen philosopher being asked this question,
What God was? required a day to think of it; when that was up,
he asked a second, and still more time; and a reason of his dilatoriness being demanded of him, he replied, That the longer he considered of the question, the more obscure it was to him. Yet, somewhat of God, of his nature and perfections, may be known by the light of nature, Rom. i. 19, 20. and more by divine revelation. Christ declared to the woman of Samaria, what God, the object of spiritual worship, is ; saying God is a spirit ; that is, he is of a spiritual nature, John iv. 22, 24. by which we are taught,
1. i 'hat God is not a body, and that we are, in our conceptions of him, to remove every thing from him that is corporeal; for spirit, and body or flesh, are opposed to one another, Isai. xxxi. 3. and yet there have been some, both ancients and moderns, atheistically inclined, who have asserted, that mat. ter is God, and God is universal matter and that the whole universe is God, and that extention is one of his attributes. But if God was matter, which is inert, unactive, and motionless, he could not be the maker and mover of all things, as he is ; for in him we live, and move, and have our being, Acts xvii. 28.
Matter is without consciousness, it is not capable of acting; if God was matter, he could not be the creator and governor of the world; nor if a body, could he be omnipresent; a body is not every where, cannot be in two places at the same time; whereas God fils heaven and earth; and was he
of so huge a body as to take up all space, there would be no · room for other bodies, as there certainly is; nor would he be
invisible; a body is to be seen and felt; but God is invisible and impalpable; “no man has seen God at any time;" and if a body he would not be the most perfect of beings, as he is; since angels, and the souls of men, being spirits, are more excellent than bodies.
It is no objection to this that the parts of an human body are sometimes attributed to God; since these are to be un. derstood of him not in a proper, but in an improper and figurative sense, His eyes signify his omniscience. His ears tuis readiness to attend unto, and answer the requests of his
people. His nose and nostrils, his acceptance of the persons and sacrifices of men, Gen. viii. 21. or his disgust at them, anger with them, and non-acceptance of them, Deut. xxix. 20. His mouth is expressive of his commands, promises, threat. enings, and prophecies delivered out by him. His arms and hands signify his power, and the exertion of it, Psal. cii. 27.
Nor is it any proof of corporiety in God, that a divine pere son has sometimes appeared in a human furm: these were appearances of the Son of God, and were presages of his future incarnation: to prepare the minds of men for it, and the rather, since these attributions were more frequent before the coming of Christ in the flesh, and very rarely used afterwards.
Nor will the formation of man in the image, and after the likeness of God, afford a sufficient argument to prove that there is something corporeal in God, seeing man has a soul or spirit, in which this image and likeness chiefly and principally lay.
11. The description of God as a Spirit, teaches us to ascribe to God all the excellencies to be found in spirits in a more eminent manner, and to consider them as transcendent and infinite in him.
Spirits are immaterial, have no corporal parts, as flesh, blood, and bones, Luke xxiv. 39. and though eyes, hands, &c. are ascribed to God, yet not of flesh, Job x. 4. but such as express what is suitable to spiritual beings in the most exalted
Spirits are incorruptible ; for having no matter about them, they are not liable to corruption ; God is called the in. corruptible God, Rom. i. 23. Spirits are immortal; angels die not, Luke xx. 36. the souls of men cannot be killed, Matt.
It is one of the characters of God, that he only hath immortality; and so more trancendently, and in a more eminent manner immortal than angels, and the souls of men; he has it of himself, and underivatively, and is the giver of it to others. Spirits are invisible ; it is a vulgar mistake that they are to be seen; who ever saw the soul of a man?
66 God is invisible and dwells in light, which no man can approach unto ;